Pages Navigation Menu

Anniversary provides opportunity to thank, educate decision-makers

Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments


While next week’s 25th anniversary of the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision isn’t something to celebrate in a traditional sense, it does offer the opportunity for pause and reflection. And in some cases, it gives us the chance to say thanks.hazelwoodcolor

Thank you to the principals, school board members and decision-makers out there supporting student journalists and the educational experience involved in a media program free of administrative control. Thank you for trusting students, under the guidance of teachers and advisers, to do their jobs as reporters. Thank you for encouraging their journey through a process that involves tireless research, interviewing, critical thinking, writing, editing and revision — the stories they tell truly make a difference.

In many states, principals by law can exercise prior review. Thankfully many know better and decide against this practice. The 25th anniversary of the Hazelwood decision seems like a great time to say thank you to those principals. If you’d like to send a letter or note of appreciation, now’s the time.

Here’s a simple card you can download and customize as a way to say thanks from journalism students to their principal, for example. Ready to print and use — with student signatures, a staff photo or whatever meets your needs.

Want to send a letter or email? Maybe this sample will help:

Dear principal/administrator/school official,

Thank you for the continued support of our journalism program and the daily opportunities it provides for our students as 21st-century learners.

This month, we are reflecting on the 25th anniversary of a Supreme Court case that significantly limited student media — Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier — and I am reminded again of how challenging it would be to advise publications in a school setting that failed to support student press freedom. True growth, learning and leadership occurs when students are accountable for their own decision-making process and work independently to serve the school community. Through thorough research and careful reporting, they are able to tell important stories that benefit others.

Advising in a supportive environment free of prior review (a form of censorship) offers a win-win. As students engage in thoughtful decision-making and critical thinking, I am able to focus as the teacher on creating meaningful, standards-based lessons.

I am proud to be part of a school climate that demonstrates a solid commitment to an authentic education and civic engagement.


Clearly we have a long road ahead in securing a free press for all student journalists, but I hope we won’t miss this opportunity to thank those who support what we do. We know it’s the right thing, and we can only hope the 25th anniversary of this decision will unite our efforts in spreading the word.
Read More

Seeking to cure the Hazelwood Blues

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments



Weighted down by the Hazelwood blues? Try these resources. #25HZLWD

One way to commemorate Hazelwood’s 25th anniversary is to take steps to control its effects. Here are our recommendations for an Action Plan to begin to find a cure for Hazelwood.

Additionally, check out the SPLC’s 5 simple steps you can make sure Hazelwood never turns 50.

Below the Action Plan you will find a daily listing of links we will post to Twitter and links that go to resources to assist you and your students to support the SPLC in its efforts to find the Hazelwood Cure.

1) Educate yourself about the importance of student press freedom. Why should students make decisions?
• For advisers: JEA guidelines for advisers — specifically areas 5-9
• For students: (seventh item down, specifically 1.4-1.6 and 5.2-5.3)

Read More

A Teacher’s Kit for curing Hazelwood

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, Legal issues, News, Projects, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


by Megan Fromm
January 13, 2013, we commemorate a bittersweet milestone in scholastic publications history: the 1988 Supreme Court ruling in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. This decision institutionalized censorship in most public schools in America, and our students have been publishing in its shadow ever since.


This month, JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission seeks to re-engage teachers, students, administrators and local media in a discussion about Hazelwood’s deleterious effects on civic education and scholastic journalism. Similarly, the Student Press Law Center’s “Cure Hazelwood” campaign is aimed at making the public aware of Hazelwood’s ill effects on our nation’s schools. Together, we hope to encourage administrators and policymakers to reconsider a stifling decision that has long plagued our education system.

We hope you will use, during the coming weeks, our Teacher Kit with resources, lesson plans, and calls to action to energize your students and staffs to learn more about—and ultimately take action against— Hazelwood.

Read More

Hazelwood: Time to assess its impact
on educational process, civic engagement

Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


hazelwoodcolorby Randy Swikle
Former JEA Illinois state director

On the 25th anniversary (Jan. 13) of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision, the high school student press in America is at risk.

Instead of engaging students in the functions of American journalism, some school authorities want to relegate student news media to mere academic practice, to public relations facades for shaping school images and to vehicles for disseminating primarily the perspectives sanctioned by school administrators.

Such a controlling approach is contrary to the best interests of scholastic journalism, student welfare, community awareness, school accountability and core principles of American democracy. It leads to arbitrary censorship and even intimidation.

Too often autocratic control is prioritized over the school mission of empowering students and giving them well-defined autonomy within the parameters of law, order and journalistic ethics. Too often teaching obedience is prioritized over teaching responsibility, and clout rather than collaboration is used to resolve contention.

Read More

Hazelwood anniversary a good opportunity
for reflective thought, appropriate action

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


With Jan. 13, the 25th anniversary of the Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier decision, less than two weeks away, now is a good time to begin to plan how you and your students will note the event.25 years of Hazelwood art

The Student Press Law Center has created two ways:
• One is a website that will provide resources, “horror stories” and more about the impact of Hazelwood on all students, not just on journalists.

• The second is a fact sheet about the 25th anniversary, with information and links students might find helpful in formulating news and oped pieces about the impact the decision has created.

JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission will also join with the SPLC through a parallel series of teaching materials, activities and stories available in early January. Also look for Hazelwood-related tweets and the hashtag #25HZLWD from the commission and 45words, among others. We invite you to follow along with the materials and to join us with your involvement.

For sobering view of Hazelwood’s impact, check out Hazelwood’s 25th anniversary: ‘Educating ‘ a generation of sheep by David Cuillier.

Read More